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Asking for a Raise 101 💸

Most people cringe at the thought of having to ask their boss for a raise. No doubt it can be an intimidating conversation, and it's crucial to really take the time in advance to plan out the conversation in order for it to be effective. If your company doesn't have regular bonuses in place or you're not currently up for a promotion, then flat-out asking might be the only way to increase your salary. Although it may not feel natural, it's important to remember that it’s completely acceptable to ask for a raise and at the end of the day most employers want to take care of their employees.

You might be thinking to yourself, but how do I even start to ask for a raise?? Well, keep reading because we are about to lay out the best tips and tricks for a successful salary negotiation.

Why do you want a raise?

First things first, you need to determine why you believe you deserve a raise. Don’t go asking your boss for a raise for personal reasons, like your bills are more expensive due to inflation or your rent went up.

When you make your request, your reasons should be based on your overall performance and the added value that you bring to your team and to the company. If possible, be prepared to present clear data and examples of your growth, accomplishments, and goals met since your last salary adjustment. Set aside the time to really think about this and perhaps even write up a list for yourself so you are clear about the purpose of the discussion.

How much should you ask for?

When asking for a raise, it's best to come prepared with a number or a percentage in mind. It is critical to make sure you don’t overshoot it, so be sure to research what is typical for your role or field. On average, a normal increase in raise is about 3%-5%, with 5% being exceptional. If you are planning to ask for an even higher raise like 10-20%, it’s extremely important to come prepared with specific data and examples to back up your request. Here are some examples of things to consider:

  1. How has your company or department directly benefited from your work? Get specific and use data to back up your answer.

  2. Were you included in any important projects? What were they and what role did you play?

  3. Over the past year (or less than that) did you receive positive feedback? What was it? Are there any trends in the feedback you receive?

  4. Did your job duties increase, and how so?

  5. What’s in it for your boss? Why would they want to give you more money? (i.e. With this increase in salary/responsibilities, what new value will you be bringing to the company?)

These are just a few examples, but here is a good rule of thumb when determining how much to ask for: The higher the percentage increase, the better your reasons should be.

When is a good time to ask?

Some people think there is never a good time to ask for a raise, but your best bet is actually just to use common sense. For example, if the company is having big layoffs or currently facing financial problems…then now is probably not the time.

Here is another factor to consider: When does the company generally give out bonuses? After 6 months or a year? If it's closer to the end of year, consider asking closer to your year mark. That way it gives your boss the opportunity to consider your request and work with upper management when thinking about your yearly bonus. Also, remember that once the budget is closed for the next year it can be harder to find extra wiggle room for giving out bonuses to employees.

However, if there isn’t a standard practice, then there is no time like the present and hopefully right now is a “good time”. Meaning that your boss is pleased with your work, you had a successful quarter, or you’ve recently taken on new responsibilities and rocked it. In general, try your best to steer clear of stressful times of year…like tax season.

Set a Meeting

Now that you have figured out why you want a raise and ideally how much, it is time to muster up the courage and set a meeting to talk with your boss. It is better to schedule a time to chat and not spring the topic on them. This shows you are considerate of their time and ensures that you have a formal opportunity to sit and be uninterrupted.


The meeting is scheduled! It is always good to practice beforehand, to boost your confidence and think through your words carefully. Practicing asking for a salary raise is a no brainer if you want to come out successful.

In fact, it couldn't hurt to do a little role playing. Maybe grab a friend or family member to play your boss and ask questions so that you can further prepare yourself.

After the Request

It’s unlikely that your boss will give you an immediate yes to your request. Chances are they will need to think it over, check the budget, and perhaps consult with other key decision makers. While they may not have an answer for you on the spot, it is totally fair for you to ask about the time frame of when you can expect an answer. This also prevents the conversation from being dragged out too long.

First and foremost, be proud of yourself for asking! That was a huge step. However, it's also time to be prepared for the outcome.

Be prepared for your boss to say no. A negative response can be the result of factors you may not be aware of, like the company budget or aspects outside of your control. If this happens, consider asking your boss for clear steps or targets you can reach in order to be considered for a pay raise in the future. A good boss will likely give you feedback and be willing to discuss further.

If you strongly disagree with their feedback, it may be time to consider an alternative career path or a new job. Most importantly, stay positive and leave the conversation in a professional manner.

On the flip side, you got a positive outcome! Woo hoo! Maintain your professional cool and express gratitude. This goes a long way to show you care and are dedicated to your company and role. Just make sure not to brag to co-workers or other colleagues; you don’t want your boss to regret giving you the raise.

A Final Reminder

Remember: this conversation isn’t an argument, it is an opportunity for you to show your value and dedication to your role. You’ve already prepared your notes (data, examples, the proof!!) about why you deserve that salary increase, so it’s time to get to ask!

Overall, asking for a raise can be stressful and uncomfortable for most people, but you have nothing to lose by trying! Good luck!

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